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The (not so) Secret revealed.

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People constantly complain about having one of those days that seem to get progressively worse with each passing minute.A Others talk about having no luck when it comes to money, love, success and relationships. Still more believe that they are doomed for failure no matter what they do.

The question remains, is any of this avoidable; are things meant to be or do we somehow will them to happen? Have we just become so lazy that we need a book instructing us on things we already instinctively know?

The notion that we have some semblance of control over our own destiny is something that 'The Secret' - the runway bestselling book and DVD -- argues for, calling on people to pay heed to the 'law of attraction' (the idea that like attracts like) and learn how to have, be and do anything

they want.

Audiences are divided between the dogged sceptics and their equally zealous supporting counterparts but thanks to the enormous exposure the book has had (aided by Oprah's endorsement), many are now coming to embrace elements of 'The Secret' in all aspects of life, from personal matters to professional goals.

Last week, Doctor Denis Waitley who was featured in 'The Secret' was in Dubai as part of 'Empowering People - Building the Nation', a two-day conference focusing on transformational programmes geared towards self-development, the science of getting rich, effective leadership and other lofty ideals.

I spoke to Doctor Waitley about the fact that many believe 'The Secret' and the path to self-improvement are just harebrained ideas designed to capitalise on people's insecurities.

According to him, self-improvement is the responsibility of every citizen, the key to survival for each succeeding society and something that has been advocated for the past 5000 years by Chinese and Arab ancestors. "Every religion preaches that 'you reap what you sow' and 'as you have believed, so will it be done unto you'. 'The Secret' and other programmes like it, simply remind us that in the long run, good begets good and evil begets evil," Waitley says, which when condensed that way, sounds like common sense we can all agree with.

As a self-confessed borderline sceptic, I attended one of the lectures given by Doctor Waitely entitled 'Building a Championship Team'. Mostly driven towards building certain habits in the workplace, much of what was said is easily applicable to one's personal life.A By the end of the lecture, I was more convinced of the fact that we already have a built-in mechanism that recognises much of what Waitley talks about; as the old saying goes, 'it's not rocket science'. What it requires is simply a level of honesty with yourself and having the focus and determination to see 'it' (whatever your goals or ambitions may be) through.

"I believe that most luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Opportunity seems to come most often to those who seek it actively and have the insight and skill set to recognise it when it appears. If success were a matter of luck, Las Vegas would be a ghost town," Waitely says, pointing to the fact that little is left to chance and being prepared should be a permanent state of mind.

When asked for an example of a success story, Waitley turned to the late Captain Jacques Cousteau as the perfect illustration of how preparation and opportunity can reap success. "Because of two broken arms, he missed the opportunity to become a pilot or an astronaut. While swimming to strengthen his healing, he got the idea for an underwater breathing device and invented the aqualung, the precursor to our present SCUBA gear. Since he missed out on being an astronaut because of an injury, he became an aquanaut, converting a problem into an opportunity," he notes.

Being prepared however, to receive all that the universe is ready to give, is not easy, after all, negative thoughts and a sense of defeat are much easier to hold onto than a constant sense of invincibility against the odds. Waitley agrees that it is not an easy task but far from impossible. "It is simple, but not easy. We are bombarded by bad news minute by minute. Good news does not have any shock value, and it is an irritating reminder of what dedicated individuals can do with a little effort," he says.

Waitley pointed to the fact that most of what holds us back in life is fear - of change, of the unknown and even of our own potential. Fear is the biggest roadblock and if our dominant thoughts are laced with fear then that is the direction your life will go in. When people obsess about certain things they don't want, that is ironically what the mind will focus on.

So how does someone begin tackling that fear? "Don't be a tourist in life; be a tour guide. The more knowledge, training and experience you have, the more your fear will dissipate," he adds. Not rocket science after all.

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To-do list for self-developmentA

Doctor Denis Waitley's tips for getting on the path to a better you:

>> Study biographies of individuals throughout history who have genuinely made a valuable contribution to improve life. Use them as role models.

>> Realise that knowledge is the key to overcoming fear and prejudice.

>> Believe in your own dreams, when they are all you have to hang onto.

>> You usually project on the outside how you feel on the inside - be aware of what you are projecting to the world.

>> Repeat to yourself: You deserve success as rightfully as anyone else.

>> Always give more in service than you expect to receive in payment.

>> Winning and losing are habit forming. Habits grow, with practice, from cobwebs into cables to strengthen or shackle our lives. Do something every day to move forward.

[c] 2007 Al Sidra Media LLC

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 8, 2008
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